4 frontrunning food concepts that use regenerative farming

11 Jun 2024

Hype & Trend Signal

68% of people are interested in food products coming from sustainable farming methods, our global Taste Tomorrow consumer survey pointed out. Regenerative agriculture is proven to have a lower environmental footprint than traditional farming methods. No wonder more and more brands are dipping their toes into new, regenerative farming methods. And it’s not just start-ups, even multinational McDonald’s is in a four-year project to produce beef under regenerative farming guidelines in the UK. 

Want to know how the bakery and chocolate industry can apply these principles? Get inspired by these 4 frontrunning food concepts that promote regenerative farming.

What is regenerative farming?

Before we dive into the examples, first a little bit of theory. Regenerative agriculture focuses on revitalizing ecosystems, improving soil health and promoting biodiversity. Farmers that apply regenerative agricultural practices change their approach from reductionist to holistic, from monoculture to diversity, from disturbing the soil to protecting the soil. In short, they go from making nature work for them to partnering with nature. That’s what regenerative farming is all about. 

Want to know more? Discover more insights and the core principles of regenerative agriculture.

 4 frontrunning food concepts that promote regenerative farming

1. AlterEco Chocolate 

Cacao from dynamic agroforestry ensures gains in multiple areas

‘Eat chocolate, save the planet’, Alter Eco writes on its homepage. The chocolate brand has dedicated itself to reversing climate change, regenerating ecosystems and empowering farmers. “You cannot reduce greenhouse gasses and mitigate climate change without addressing soil health through better farming practices. These are the foundations for long-term solutions that have real impact,” says Alter Eco CEO Mike Forbes to Forbes

By helping their Central and South American cacao farmers transition to dynamic agroforestry, Alter-Eco hopes to do more than just stopping climate change and deforestation. The new way of working should also increase the yields and quality of the cacao, because the plants are in better condition and health. That in turn should translate to a better income for growers. So even the consumer should win by getting to enjoy a tastier 85% cacao Almond Blackout bar, Mint Crème Truffle Thins or Sea Salt Truffles.

2. Nature’s Path

Breakfast from regenerative organic agriculture

With their toaster pastries, waffles, cereal and oatmeal, Nature’s Path is seducing consumers to eat a better breakfast. Better for their health and better for the planet. That’s why they work with ingredients such as oats from regenerative organic agriculture. That means farmers aren’t just concerned with enriching the soil, but they also work without pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers and GMOs. They didn’t come up with this term themselves. Nature’s Path is Regenerative Organic Certified by the Regenerative Organic Alliance.

On their product packaging the brand focuses mostly on the organic aspects of their breakfast foods, although the use of specific grains in the ingredient list does give away some info to informed consumers. Think of the Wildberry Waffles that use buckwheat, a cover crop, that can play a crucial role in erosion prevention and soil enhancement. Its abundance of flowers fosters biodiversity and allows farmers an opportunity to reduce reliance on pesticides.

3. Patagonia Provisions

Snack collabs with scientists and nonprofits

Surprised to see the sustainable clothing brand Patagonia featured in this list? Well, the outdoor brand has had its own food division for quite a while now. In 2013, they launched their first product and now there’s a whole range of products, mainly consisting of tinned fish, crackers and pasta. Those aren’t just handy snacks for their customers to take on their next camping trip, but they are the result of ambitious collaborations with scientists and nonprofit entities.

Patagonia Provisions hopes to find the best future path for the food industry and makes products that showcase the solutions. They for instance helped bring the perennial grain Kernza, developed by the Land Institute, to the fields and thus the market. Birgit Cameron, co-founder and head of Patagonia Provisions, explains the process to Eater: “We had to put together infrastructure, find farmers who were willing to take a flyer and grow it, and we actually subsidized it and set incentives.” Now Kernza is used for Patagonia Provision’s fusilli pasta.

For their crackers – Sourdough Sea Salt, Rosemary Garlic, Margherita Pizza and Vegan Cheddar Cheeze – they use a wheat variety called Edison, developed by a retired English professor in his backyard. The short supply chain and regenerative farming methods make the production process much more environmentally friendly. Greenhouse gas emissions are 25% lower compared with what the total would be if Patagonia made them with conventional practices.

4. Marks & Spencer’s Wildfarmed bread range

Supermarket sustainable farming options

Even major multinationals are now jumping on the regenerative farming train. British retailer, Marks & Spencer’s, launched a whole range of breads made with grains from regenerative farming. They set up a collaboration with Wildfarmed, hoping to transform agriculture into a solution rather than a contributor to the environmental crisis. That calls for a close collaboration between farmers, food retailers and consumers. 

 “We want to make it easier for customers to choose products which benefit the planet as well as their taste buds, Wildfarmed bread is a great example of that”, says M&S product developer for bakery, Harry Peak. The Fruit & Treacle Bread, Sunflower & Spelt Bread and Wheat & Rye Flour Bread M&S produces with Wildfarmed use flour from wheat grown in nutrient-rich soil alongside plants and grasses which looks to restore biodiversity, soil and ecosystem health. It’s Wildfarmed’s mission to become the biggest soil regeneration programme on British arable land.

Try the latest regeneratively farmed flour-based sourdough solution

Puratos UK has launched a locally sourced and sustainable sourdough solution: Sapore Sally. This regeneratively farmed sourdough has a creamy, tangy flavor. The flour is also sourced from Wildfarmed and comes from more than 100 farmers in the UK and France who use regenerative processes to improve soil conditions and farm biodiversity. 

In Belgium, Puratos launched the completely traceable active sourdough Sapore Lavida. This new ingredient is made exclusively with 100% wholewheat flour sourced from regenerative agriculture practices, enabling bakers across mainland Europe to meet growing demand for locally-produced, sustainably-sourced sourdough products. Sapore Lavida offers a tangy flavor profile with fruity, balanced lactic and acetic notes, and it enhances fiber content in white bread too. 

1. AlterEco Chocolate

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